Frequently asked Questions
Q. When did you produce your first wines?
A. 1991, was our first vintage.
Q. Do you grow your own grapes?
A. Yes we do. All our grapes are grown on properties located within the Martinborough GI.
Q. Do you machine or hand harvest your grapes?
A. All our grapes are hand picked into 10 Kg [max] bins. This enables us to field sort grapes at the time of picking which ensures only the cleanest ripest fruit is delivered to the winery.
Q. How do you crush your white grapes?
A. Both Riesling and Chardonnay grapes are whole bunch pressed using a Diemme pneumatic membrane press. Whole bunch pressing reduces oxidation of the juice and phenolic extracts.
Q. What do you do with the pressed skins?
A. They’re used as stock feed.
Q. Do you use wild yeasts or culture yeasts to ferment your wines?
A. Without exception we use culture yeasts. Wild yeast leaves too much to chance, as you can never be sure which strain of yeast has caused the must to ferment. Wild yeast can result in stuck ferments with undesirable off flavours, which are technically difficult to deal with.
Q Do you use the same yeast strain for different grape varieties?
A. No. We use different isolates for different grapes and different styles of wines. This is of particular importance when producing aromatic wines like Riesling, where the yeast must be able to tolerate cold fermentation conditions. Our preferred yeast supplier is Enoferm.
Q. What type of bottle closure are you using?
A. Until 2001 we only ever used natural cork, but with the increasing market awareness of TCA we felt that another alternative needed to be found. Since 2002 we have been using a synthetic closure made of low density polyethylene [LDPE] manufactured by Neocork. This closure has all the advantages of natural cork, while at the same time being inert. This synthetic closure means we can use conventional corking machinery to seal the bottle, and the consumer can use a conventional corkscrew to withdraw the cork.
Q. What type of oak barrels do you use to age your wines?
A. For our red wines and our barrel fermented Chardonnay we use almost exclusively French, Nevers oak barriques [225L] sourced from Demptos. The same company also supplies us with a small % of American and Hungarian oak barriques.
Q. How long do you barrel age wines for?
A. This can vary from 11 months [Pinot Noir] to 18 months [Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot & Franc]
Q. What is the difference between Barrique fermented Chardonnay and oak aged Chardonnay?
A. Barrique fermented Chardonnay is a wine which was fermented from grape juice inside a 225 L barrel. Generally this is a more expensive technique compared to fermenting in stainless steel then placing the finished wine into an oak barrel for ageing.
Q. Do you filter your wines?
A. Depending on the variety we use different grades of filters, coarse pad through to fine [0.45um] membrane. This gives us both clarity and stability of our finished wines. This process is critical with any wine which has residual fermentable sugar. We are careful to choose filters which are inert and don't strip colour or flavour from our wines. To this end we have found Sartorius filters to be a good match to our style of winemaking.